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MCAT vs Applying Early

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by envirodoc, May 7, 2008.

  1. envirodoc

    envirodoc 7+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    Long Island City
    Hi Everyone,

    I am wondering - on behalf of a non-trad (though I am also wondering and I consider myself a young non-trad:D) - what to do regarding MCAT dates this summer/fall.

    The non-trad in question is a lab manager and cancer survivor and went to take the MCAT last July. Unfortunately, she came down with radiation induced hypothyroidism during her studies (even paid for a PR class!) and did much poorer on the MCAT than during earlier study sessions. She is now doing fine on levothyroxine and has her energy back.

    Since then, she took Organic Chem (her one missing pre-med class), did well, and is finishing the part 2 by the end of June. She works beyond full-time as a lab manager (who's lab is currently moving this summer) and organic chem is keeping her busy.

    She is scheduled to take the MCAT in mid-July, but has not had too much time to prepare so far and was wondering about moving to early September, then get in primaries once the score is in and turnaround secondaries in October.

    Questions is - how much will it hurt to be that "late" in the app cycle? I think it make a difference in her MCAT score, but is it better to suck it up and go for the July date and then apply early?

    Thanks for the help!
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  3. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    I think the answer depends largely on how strong the applicant is..I've spoken with a number of med students who completed secondaries in October, which is realistic for someone taking the Sept. MCAT if they are careful on timing (particularly regarding the Aamcas primary verification process which can take 4+ weeks).

    But "all else being equal" (i.e. if the applicant is not one of the "top" applicants according to the schools), taking a September/fall MCAT means secondaries will not be fully considered for another month (when MCAT scores are available in October or so). Interviews often start in September, definitely by October; if the secondary is completed in October (after MCAT scores are in), realistically its another 4-8 weeks until potentially being called for an interview (November/December). Add a few weeks for travel scheduling (schools would schedule the interview at least a few weeks out) and the applicant has missed most of the possible interview slots.

    Bottom line is there's likely not a "correct" answer, if its possible financially/timewise to wait a year, acceptance chances would be quite a bit higher.

    I was one of the "late applicants" and that's one thing I was told was a major strike against me, hopefully the lab manager would have a different experience!
  4. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Don't take the MCAT until you are ready, but Sept is too late to apply in the same year. While it can be done, it puts you at a MAJOR disadvantage.
  5. nu2004

    nu2004 5+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Los Angecagoveland
    this is true, and many schools will not send you secondaries until AFTER your primary has been verified. some will, most will not.

    so you're looking at September X + 4 weeks + at least 4 weeks = November something. too late.
  6. Weoh

    Weoh 5+ Year Member

    First, don't take the MCAT until you've had adequate preparation. If you can't be ready by July, don't take it in July-- prep for a later date.

    Second, as it's already been said, if you take it in September-- after verification of primary, receipt of MCAT results, completion of secondaries, coordination of LoRs, etc. you're probably not going to have any secondary applications considered to be complete at any school until mid to late November or December. Adding in Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, etc. the interview windows in those months is pretty slim. You'll be looking at interviews in spring 2009. While lots of people get acceptances from these, the earlier your interview in the cycle, the better chance you have at an outright acceptance- (assuming that you're qualified, do well in interview, etc.).

    Third, don't take the MCAT until you've had adequate preparation.

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